Sales Performance Management: Tips for Creating an Excuse-Free Culture
Going through some old files on my computer recently, I discovered a list of leadership tips on accountability and building an excuse-free culture in your business. These are proven practices for business and sales leaders. Are you looking for proven principles that will stand the test of time?
I realize that, after almost ten years, I am still talking and thinking about the same thing, both in my new Millennial Sales Accountability eBook and in Millennials Matter. So, let’s build an excuse-free culture in your organization to shift your sales into high gear! Here are the first 10 tips to get you started. Stay tuned for the next post in this series, to get more excuse-buster tips.
- Make accountability a core value of the organization. If accountability is not an existing core value of your organization, make it one. When you employ new salespeople, make sure that their personal values match those of the organization.
- Build an Excuse-Free Culture through servant leadership. Servant leadership recognizes the importance of and supports individuals and accountability. In doing so it breeds a high-performance organization.
- Develop a sales management system. The system should formalize both strategies and principles. During times of financial turmoil, bad sales processes are exposed. Review all your sales processes, including pipeline management. Identify the weak spots and address them.
- Match the message and the measurements. Absolute clarity about expectations is a must. Right from the beginning—at the interview stage—be clear about expectations and how they will be measured. Every employee’s goals must support the company’s vision, values, and strategic priorities.
- Beware of salespeople who blame the economy. Salespeople who don’t believe they have control over an outcome are unlikely to do anything to improve their effectiveness. Organizations tend to be more forgiving of excuses during difficult economic times; don’t fall into that trap. Top salespeople will use their creativity to perform no matter how bad the economy seems to be,
- Beware of salespeople who blame competitors. Blaming competitors is an admission of being outsold. Coach your people to concentrate on what they can control – service is still a key differentiator. Accompany your salespeople on client visits and observe whether they follow the established sales plan. Coach when needed.
- Don’t allow salespeople to accuse management of being responsible for personal failure. Sales managers who accept excuses feed their sales team’s refusal to accept accountability. Do you have a leadership vision of not only how to cope, but how to thrive during difficult times? It’s not negotiable; get it and share it.
- Be vigilant about accountability weaknesses. A lack of accountability includes a weak pipeline, discounts to get the order, and a low rate of prospect-to-customer conversion. Measure daily activity and conversion rates and see how this improves the numbers. Enforce a disciplined daily sales routine until it becomes automatic.
- Hire disciplined salespeople. People with a high degree of personal responsibility don’t make excuses. Their disciplined thoughts fuel disciplined actions and yield disciplined results. These sales stars will seek solutions for every challenge. If it is part of the person’s internal make-up, it will be much more effective compared to you having to enforce discipline.
- Hire accountable salespeople. The best way to build a no-excuse sales organization is to hire accountable salespeople. Do they have the right DNA that will guarantee success in sales? Ask the right questions and test applicants before the appointment.
“Develop an action mindset to be a solutions provider, not just a problem solver.” ~ Millennials Matter, p151
In the next post in this 2-part series, I’ll give you 10 more tips to create an excuse-free culture in your business.
To learn more about accountability you can read these articles as well:
Leadership Lesson: By building an excuse-free culture in your business, you will shift your sales results into high-gear.
Leadership Question: What are you doing to build an excuse-free culture in your business?